Use a third-party firewall product or turn on the Microsoft Windows Internet Connection Firewall.
How to turn on the Windows Firewall in Windows 8
How to turn on the Windows Firewall in Windows 7
How to turn on the Windows Firewall in Windows Vista
How to turn on the Windows Firewall in Windows XP
Updates help protect your computer from viruses, worms, and other threats as they are discovered. It is important to install updates for all the software that is installed in your computer. These are usually available from vendor websites.
You can find the latest updates on the website of the company that made your software. You can find a list of links to popular software on our updates page.
You can easily keep all of your Microsoft software up-to-date by turning on Windows automatic updates. Your computer will then automatically download Microsoft security updates when your computer is online.
Turn on Automatic updates in Windows 8
Turn on Automatic Updates in Windows 7
Turn on Automatic Updates in Windows Vista
Turn on Automatic Updates in Windows XP
Starting with Windows Vista and Windows 7, Microsoft introduced User Account Control (UAC), which, when enabled, allowed users to run with least user privileges. This scenario limits the possibility of attacks by malware and other threats that require administrative privileges to run.
You can configure UAC in your computer to meet your preferences:
User Account Control in Windows 8
User Account Control in Windows 7
User Account Control in Windows Vista
Applying the Principle of Least Privilege in Windows XP
More on User Account Control
Most scanning and removal software can detect and prevent the installation of known malicious software and potentially unwanted software such as adware or spyware. You should frequently run a scanning and removal tool, such as Microsoft Security Essentials, or Windows Defender in Windows 8, that is updated with the latest signature files. For more information, see 'Consumer security software providers'.
Exercise caution when dealing with email, IM conversations, and web messages received from unknown sources, or received unexpectedly from known sources. Use extreme caution when accepting file transfers from known or unknown sources.
Exercise caution with links to webpages that you receive from unknown sources, especially if the links are to a webpage that you are not familiar with or are suspicious of. Malicious software may be installed in your computer simply by visiting a webpage with harmful content.
Threats may also be bundled with software and files that are available for download on various torrent sites. Downloading "cracked" or "pirated" software from these sites carries not only the risk of being infected with malware, but is also illegal. For more information, see 'The risks of obtaining and using pirated software'.
While attackers may attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in hardware or software to compromise a computer, they also attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in human behavior to do the same. When an attacker attempts to take advantage of human behavior to persuade the affected user to perform an action of the attacker's choice, it is known as 'social engineering'. Essentially, social engineering is an attack against the human interface of the targeted computer. For more information, see 'What is social engineering?'.
Attackers may try to gain access to your Windows account by guessing your password. It is therefore important that you use a strong password – one that cannot be easily guessed by an attacker. A strong password is one that has at least eight characters and combines letters, numbers, and symbols. For more information see '< a href="http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/passwords-create.aspx" target=_blank>Create strong passwords'.
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